Barcelona left it late before capping a superb year by clinching the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Barca needed extra time to beat Argentina’s Estudiantes 2-1 and secure their sixth title of the year.
Mauro Boselli had put Estudiantes ahead after 37 minutes only for Barca striker Pedro to grab the equalizer in the dying minutes of the game, with Argentina striker Lionel Messi nailing victory after 110 minutes.
The Spanish giants dominated early play, but met stubborn opposition from the South American champions’ defense.
Xavi thought that he had earned Barcelona a penalty on 35 minutes, but goalkeeper Damian Albil’s challenge on him went unpunished.
Estudiantes surprisingly took the lead two minutes later when Juan Manuel Diaz crossed from the left, and Boselli got in front of Eric Abidal to fire home a header.
Barcelona reacted immediately, with Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic almost getting a touch on a Messi free-kick after 41 minutes, but Albil proved solid ensuring Alejandro Sabella’s team held their lead going into halftime.
After the break, an Ibrahimovic effort went just wide and the Swedish forward then had another shot blocked by Leandro Desabato.
Despite the best efforts of Ibrahimovic and Messi, Barcelona failed to break down their opponents, with an effort from the Ballon d’Or winner held by Albil after 70 minutes.
However, their pressing paid off after 89 minutes when Gerard Pique fed substitute Pedro, who headed into the back of the net.
Barcelona dominated extra time before Messi scored the winner after chesting home an Dani Alves cross to ensure the Catalans end the year as the kings of world.
Earlier, South Korea’s Pohang Steelers beat Mexican club Atlante 4-3 on penalties to clinch third place at the Zayed Sports City.
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